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Harvard Men's Golf Ties for 5th at Yale's MacDonald Cup

By Michael Lai '14

This week, the Harvard Men's Golf Team traveled to New Haven, Connecticut to compete in the annual MacDonald Cup hosted by Ivy League rival Yale. The Yale University Golf Course is a par 70, 6749-yard track designed in 1924 by golf course architect, player, and USGA co-founder Charles Blair McDonald. Because of its blind tee shots, penal bunkers, and massive, sloping greens, the course always proves to be a strong test. This week, heavy rains dramatically altered course conditions, flooding the fairways and softening the greens. In fact, due to torrential rains on Saturday morning, the tournament was shortened from 54 holes to 36 holes.

On Day 1, after a 90-minute rain delay, the Crimson marched onto the rain-soaked course in full rain gear to kick off the 9:30 a.m. shotgun start. With parts of the course flooded, lift clean and place was in effect, setting up prime scoring conditions for attacking pins. Unfortunately, the team failed to take advantage of the soft greens, posting a mediocre 294 to finish tied for 6th place out of 14 teams, 14 shots behind leader Yale.

Theo Lederhausen '14 and Mark Pollak '12 led the squad with a pair of 2-over par 72's. Captain Tony Grillo '12 and Seiji Liu '14 rounded out the counting scores with 5 over par 75's, while Kevin McCarthy '14 posted a 76. Michael Lai '14, playing as an individual, shot 78.

Ominous rain clouds cleared early morning Sunday, letting through the first rays of sun and spots of blue sky during the weekend. While the weather was stellar for the entire second round, the course was still soaked from overnight rains, with greens proving to be significantly slower than Saturday. When all was said and done, the Crimson posted a 5-stroke improvement over round one with a 289 to finish at 583 and move up the leader board to fifth, beating Ivy League rivals Columbia and Penn, but falling well short of tournament winner Yale.

Once again, Lederhausen and Pollak led the squad with matching one-over par 71's, both finishing solidly in the top ten. Grillo followed up his first round 75 with a 73, highlighted by a hole in one on the par 3 5th with a flush 7-iron from 150 yards. Despite early round putting woes, Liu buckled down and finished his last 6 holes 2 under par to shoot 74. McCarthy struggled with his putter Sunday, finishing at 8 over par 78, while individual Lai improved on his score Saturday, posting 71.

When asked to comment on his second ace in 2 weeks after the round, Grillo put quite simply: "I told it to 'be good, and it was good." Unfortunately, the Crimson's tournament finish at Yale wasn't so good. Looking to improve on some disappointing scores this week, the team will put in some hard work in the practice area before heading to Philadelphia next week, looking to bring home their first win of the season at the Big 5 Invitational.

Par:        70                            Yardage: 6749             
Fin Team                     Scores
1 Yale University             280   285    565        +5   
2 Princeton University     286   284    570       +10   
3 Dartmouth College       288   285    573       +13   
4 St. Edward's U.             294    286    580       +20   
5 Sacred Heart Univ.       290   293    583       +23     
Harvard University          294   289    583       +23   
7 Rhode Island, U. of       296   288    584       +24   
8 Columbia University     296   291    587       +27     
Colgate University           294   293    587       +27  
10 Temple University      296   294    590       +30  
11 Central Connecticut    299   296    595       +35     
Pennsylvania, U. of          292   303    595       +35  
13 Fordham University    302   296    598       +38  
14 YALE II                          306   305    611       +51  

Fin Name                              School          Scores
9 MarkPollak                         Harvard      72   71    143   +3     
9 TheodoreLederhausen    Harvard      72   71    143   +3
29 Tony Grillo                       Harvard      75   73    148   +8
37 Seiji Liu                            Harvard      75   74    149   +9     
37 Michael Lai                      Harvard      78   71    149   +9 
65 Kevin McCarthy              Harvard      76   78    154   +14